8. Robert Thomas (1998 – 2002)
Every great player has their championed successor. Walter Payton had Neil Anderson, Marshall Faulk had Steven Jackson, and Daryl Johnston had Robert Thomas.
Robert Thomas, like many fullbacks, spent the early part of his career bumbling around on special teams as a third-string linebacker finding no real consistency to be backed by. He even spent some time in 1999 playing for NFL Europe’s Rhein Fire.
When he returned he was switched to Fullback and immediately found himself in the starting role when Johnston suffered a career-ending injury in Week One.
He did not carry the ball too often but was primarily used as Emmitt Smith’s lead blocker during his last four years in Dallas, which is no trivial role.
Another piece of fun Emmitt Smith trivia is that the fullback during Smith’s NFL rushing record-breaking run was indeed Robert Thomas.
When it was all said and done, Thomas finished with a stat line of 50 receptions, 280 yards, and three touchdowns. He only rushed for a little over 100 yards in his career and never scored a touchdown on the ground.
His diminished, block-based role, is a testament to the way the game has changed over the years. But Thomas played an important role at an important time for the Cowboys. His contributions were enormous.